Prelude to a road trip…

I’ve been promising some road trip stories for awhile now and the onset of winter seems a good time to sit around the fire and tell tall tales, so pull up your chair, wrap your chilled fingers around that mug of coffee (is that Irish crème I smell in your mug?) and enjoy…

In the early 80’s my parents invested in a little Winnebago motorhome.  Let me further define “little.”  This is not a Minnie Winnie such as you see on the road or in RV lots all the time.  It’s much smaller.  In fact it’s actually a Micro 319RK according to my insurance guy.  Driving it is not far different from driving a small pickup…like Chevy Luv small…like sitting directly on the pavement with a small house bouncing along behind you…small.

Isn’t she cute? She fits in most regular parking spots at the grocery store!

 My folks drove it down the Alcan twice on extended shopping trips as they looked for a winter home.  By the end of the second trip the starter began acting up and after a few more years of travels around the state, Dad gave up and parked it.   

I soon started hinting that I wanted first option when he was ready to sell it.  Finally, after it sat for nearly 4 years, he said, “come get it if you still want it, otherwise I’m towing it to the dump.” 

So for my 45th birthday I got a motorhome! 

Winnie can go places some of the big rigs can’t easily go – This cleft in the rock is the only road to get to McCarthy

My roommate, D., and I drove to Nikiski to collect it.  Mom and Dad helped with some new tires and a new cabin battery as part of my birthday present and we drove it back to Anchorage with no problems.  After an oil change, D’s brother looked it over and did some small, mostly cosmetic, repairs but otherwise pronounced it sound.  As an “RV warming” gift he and his wife bought us a hitch rack for additional luggage space.

We were ready for our first motorhome road trip!

Winnie at the Arctic Circle

 Take a look at a good map of Alaska.  See that wiggly line that goes from the northernmost coastline all the way to the bottom of the state?  That is the TransAlaska Pipeline that carries oil from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez.  Following that pipe for most of its 800+ miles is a road known as the Haul Road or the Dalton Highway.  It has been featured on Ice Road Truckers in the last couple of years.  That was the road we decided to try on our first real outing!

(warning:  boys and girls…don’t try this at home!)

Map borrowed from Wikipedia…our route picked up the pipeline at Fairbanks and followed it all the way to Prudhoe Bay

(PS stands for Pump Station, Fairbanks close to PS8)

There were seven women altogether in three vehicles.  S. (my cabin neighbor) with two other ladies in her van and towing her popup camper, three of us in Winnie, and C. in her elderly Grand Cherokee.  We spent 5 days on the road together and there are WAY too many stories to tell in one post, never mind the thousands of photos I could share! 

Stay tuned…800 miles of mostly dirt road to come!

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